We love Nick Diaz. In fact I’d say he has to be one of my favourite fighters ever. I confess to loving fight instigators, smack-talkers and great fighters who are also great promoters, provided they put on consistently great performances and as long as they’re in some natural way authentic. Nick Diaz is an authentic badass. He will throw down with anyone as long as they like to trade. And his smack-talking persona is real. It’s not a mask, like Sonnen’s fake gangster, which is really a caricature of a smack talker not a true badass or off-camera menace like the Diaz bros. We all know that Diaz has some of the best boxing in MMA and with a legit jiu jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie is a constant submission threat off his back. No knockout power but enough pure savage intensity, hand speed, big-fight experience and mental dominance to beat any given man on any given night … unless they just lay on him with ‘that wrestlin’ shit!
So he’s never a fight to look past, or fighter to take lightly. He’s a ticket-seller and someone whose presence always lights up a fight card. His hard-knock, thugs game and rebel image with the media outside the cage has kept him atop of the fight list and a challenger to the throne at lightweight and welterweight for more than a decade. However, let’s be as real as Nick Diaz, he had a championship worthy run from 2008- 2010 and although he went the distance against GSP - like we knew he would - he never really posed a serious challenge to St. Pierre or the title at UFC 158.
The fact that Anderson’s ‘warm-up’ fight is against Diaz proves two things: one is that Zuffa always knows how to make sweet lemonade out of ‘lemons’ like the absence of a Diaz or a Silva; the second is that Diaz, at this late stage in his career, is not considered a real menace to Anderson’s well being or Zuffa’s long term investment in the Spider. Either way, Nick Diaz remains a fierce bloody fight for anyone that wants some, a drama king who moves the audience needle, boosts ticket sales, and electrifies the media fanfare. No question that Nick Diaz has had one of the most storied, successful, long lasting and notorious careers in MMA history. But in a ruthless competition to judge the worthiness of a fighter’s mystique, rank and/or the mental space he dominates in the game, you have to say that Nick Diaz has always been on your mind and in the media more for his bombastic fighting style and personality than for his pure championship pedigree. For this reason, Diaz makes our all time overrated list in MMA history. But he makes it in hard-working Stockton style, and no doubt flipping us the bird … especially if he reads this list.